Police investigating homicide near Youngstown church

A woman with gunshot wounds was found dead in the 1400 block of Belmont Avenue

Police are investigating the death of a person, who was discovered on Friday morning near Centenary United Methodist Church.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown police are trying to find out who killed a young woman and left her body outside a church on the north side.

Capt. Brad Blackburn said a black woman in her 20s with apparent gunshot wounds was found dead outside Centenary United Methodist Church in the 1400 block of Belmont Avenue. The Mahoning County Coroner’s office was called to complete an autopsy.

A church custodian found the woman’s body around 9 a.m. Friday in an alleyway behind a barbed wire fence. A church secretary called police and Pastor Dawane Buie.

“I was shocked when I got the call. I was like, ‘What? Someone passed away behind our church building?'” Buie said.

Police haven’t said much about the investigation, but did say there were bullet casings near the body.

They did not find any identification or any clues that would point to a motive. Investigators also don’t know why she was left at the church.

The investigation is going to continue into who this woman was and how she happened to be by the church when she died.

He says his job now is to help his congregation come to grips with what happened.

“One particular member knew her and all I could say is, ‘Sorry for your loss.’ Gave them a hug and said I’m here to pray with them,” he said. “Time and prayer will hopefully heal those wounds because it’s scary. A lot of people are scared and apprehensive about what’s going on in the world today, but we’re just here to support in any way we can.”

Buie says he’s worried about the woman’s family.

“We are going to reach out to them, try to pray with them and reach out to the people. It’s just really tragic and this, in our world today, there is so much death and tragedy. We just try to offer the hope of the Gospel.”

Those with information on the crime are asked to call Youngstown Police at 330-742-8929. Tips can also be called in to Crime Stoppers at 330-746-2583.

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